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My Nephew Being Bullied at School

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Sep 21, 2019

Question

My 14-year-old nephew has completed his Hafeez course (memorization of the holy Quran) within a period of 2 years. However, he has been complaining that fellow students are ill-treating and nagging him. For two months, he doesn’t want to go to school. We feel he has some other reasons, but he doesn’t want to tell more than this. We have spoken to the teachers and they said they had advised the students to treat him well, but he is complaining. He went for a few days but returned back again. Please let me know how to resolve this problem. Thank you.

Counselor

Answer


My Nephew Being Bullied at School - About Islam

In this counseling answer:

•Many things could be bothering him about going to Quran school. Dogmatism or the harshness or strictness of the environment could be the problem.

•For kids who obsess over doing the right thing, the opposite could be the problem—he is being too hard on himself and others, frustrated that everyone is not “doing the right thing”. He may simply be “burnt out”.

•Learning the whole of the Quran in two years at age 12 to 14 is ultra fast and ultra young for such a heavy task. He may just need to take a breather.


Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,

It is hard for me to address this issue because I do not know what is repelling (or repulsing) him, so I am going to take a few guesses so you can explore those—and hopefully explore them with him, InShaAllah, if he will confide in you.

It is important to remember that he is young, and especially for a boy because males mature later than girls. He is in puberty and puberty is a very difficult stage in life. It is when a child is transitioning from childhood to adulthood, which is like being in fast-moving traffic where you have to make quick decisions and you do not even know the information you need to know to be able to decide what to do.

Therefore, it is important to keep feeding him lots of info but in small amounts so that he can process it. It takes adolescents a lot more time to process info than it takes for adults to process it because they are new to the process.

My Nephew Being Bullied at School - About Islam

Their adult reasoning and their new set of responsibilities are all so new to them that they are not used to them—and the thoughts that go along with all those new things are new to them too.


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Remember, they are still young, even though they look older and need to be more responsible. You know when a two-year-old has to take the time to process their responses, you can see their little minds churning over the info and deciding how to respond. Speed that same process up a little and that is what you have going on in an adolescent’s mind, without our ability to see the workings of their minds.

Ok, many things could be bothering him about going to Quran school. Dogmatism or the harshness or strictness of the environment could be the problem. For kids who obsess over doing the right thing, the opposite could be the problem—he is being too hard on himself and others, frustrated that everyone is not “doing the right thing”. He may simply be “burnt out”. Learning the whole of the Quran in two years at age 12 to 14 is ultra fast and ultra young for such a heavy task. He may just need to take a breather.

He may need to play still. Does he do any sports? Does he get rewards for his accomplishments or do you think the thing itself is enough reward? I would suggest finding out from him what he would like to do and give it to him. Then, you don’t have to get him to tell you what is bothering him (which, according to you, he won’t tell you). You just give him what he wants and that may indirectly solve the problem.

Did he learn only the sounds or is he an Arabic speaker? If he only learned the sounds, he may feel the emptiness of his task. I am not a great believer in learning only the sounds. I think that it would be much more effective if the children took a year to learn Arabic first and then the Quran so that they understood at least the words, if not their depth of meaning (which we are all learning for a lifetime).

He may be feeling cornered and needs to feel freer. Since he won’t talk, try out different things on him and see what gets a good reaction and what gets a bad one. Go for the good ones because he deserves it. Let him know how pleased you are with his hard work and reward him, InShaAllah.

May Allah Make it easy for you and for hiAm, InShaAllah.
Amen,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem

Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology (Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research. For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery. For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in interpersonal relations. Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.

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